Now, there are no doubt parents everywhere who probably know that there was no need for this idea to be developed; somehow, most four-year-olds today seem reasonably competent when it comes to using the latest iPhone or Samsung Galaxy model, and not just in terms of playing Temple Run, either.
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Not Really a Phone
The problem with this product, cleverly called ‘1stFone,’ is that it is not really a phone in the traditional sense at all, meaning that any younger children who are already tech-savvy are unlikely to find themselves wanting to play with it. After all, that is what children tend to do with phones; play with them.
1stFone is set up to call a child’s parents, presumably if they are in trouble and need to get hold of them. The only problem, which has been pointed out by technology experts, children’s groups, and keyboard warriors on Twitter in equal measure, is that most four-year-olds won’t be left alone anywhere they would need to have a mobile phone.
You might leave your child in the lounge while you go and cook dinner, but no one is going to leave them at home while they go shopping, or send them out to play by themselves, are they?
The company behind this product, OneFone, is perhaps victims of their own success in some respects. They have previously released a phone specifically for the elderly, which received great reviews and spawned a range of copycat products around the world. One of the ironies of this product is that actually, a mobile phone aimed at children is not a bad idea.
However, if parents want their children to have a handset at an older age when they might start playing outside by themselves, for example, then they can easily by the phone of their choice, including a cheaper feature phone if they do not want their children to have internet or social networking access on their handsets.
Will This Product Succeed?
The answer, unfortunately, is likely to be a resounding no. The two biggest problems with it, we have already analyzed. Firstly, there is no way a child of four is likely to ever be in a situation where they need to call their parents for urgent help. Second, children today are clever and can use a smartphone better than most adults after playing around with it for 20 minutes. At £55, it would prove to be a very expensive, not to mention unnecessary, the toy for the child unlucky enough to receive it.
All that said, OneFone are pushing on with the release, and genuinely believe that their ‘phone’ will bring something to the younger generation, as well as serve to put parents’ minds at rest.
Robert is a technology enthusiast with interests in everything from weird and wacky inventions aimed at children, to discover the best VPS packages for businesses looking to develop their website. Robert also offers consultancy services relating to all of these areas.